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Season ends for Harper, Nats with blowout loss (updated)

DENVER - The Nationals wrapped up their 14th season of baseball in the District this afternoon. That this particular season, already a disappointment, ended with a 12-0 pasting at the hands of a Rockies club that now heads to Los Angeles for a Monday tiebreaker game to decide the National League West didn’t mean much in the larger picture. No, what meant the most was

Turner reaches 162-game mark for first time (Nats down 7-0)

DENVER - Trea Turner wanted to play every day, and he indeed did play every day for the Nationals this season. Upon stepping up to bat in the top of the first this afternoon at Coors Field, Turner officially appeared in his 162nd game of the season, and in the process became only the second player in Nationals history to reach that mark. Ryan Zimmerman,

Rizzo says he expects Martinez and full staff to return

DENVER - As we saw one year ago, Mike Rizzo doesn’t necessarily have the final say on this, but the Nationals general manager did reiterate today before the finale of his team’s disappointing season he expects Davey Martinez and his entire coaching staff to return in 2019. “Nothing’s changed,” Rizzo said about an hour before the Nats faced the playoff-bound Rockies in Game 162. “We

Game 162 lineups: Nats at Rockies

DENVER - For the last time in 2018, hello from the ballpark. The scene today at Coors Field should be a wild one, with the Rockies seeking their first division title while also keeping an eye on what’s happening in the Dodgers-Giants game at AT&T Park. They could end the day as National League West champs, as the league’s second wild card or still tied

Soto not ready for sensational season to end

DENVER - As the rest of his teammates look forward to the physical and mental rest that awaits them following today’s season finale, Juan Soto just wants to keep playing more baseball. Never mind that the 19-year-old has played in 153 total games this season between the minors and majors, a workload far beyond anything he’s ever experienced. He’s still going strong straight through this

Nats blow out Rockies, won’t pitch Scherzer in Game 162

DENVER - The Nationals wrapped up a seventh consecutive winning season tonight, and in the process ensured they will play a role in a wild Sunday in the National League, with four Game 162s all set to be played in unison to determine the winners of two divisions. But not with Max Scherzer participating. The Nationals’ 12-2 drubbing of the Rockies left a crowd of

L.A. win means Scherzer will start Sunday finale (Nats up 9-2)

DENVER - Max Scherzer will make one more start in 2018 after all. The Dodgers’ victory in San Francisco this afternoon prevented the Rockies from having a chance to clinch the National League West title tonight, making Sunday’s regular season finale meaningful. And that means Scherzer will take the mound for the Nationals one last time this season. Scherzer and the Nats had decided earlier

Zimmerman likely done for 2018, focused on new winter plan

DENVER - It doesn’t look like the Nationals are going to take any chances playing Ryan Zimmerman this weekend and will shut down the veteran first baseman with back tightness. Zimmerman, who tweaked his bat swinging during Wednesday’s home finale in Washington, wasn’t in Friday night’s lineup against the Rockies and he’s again not in tonight’s lineup. With nothing left to play for - aside

Game 161 lineups: Nats at Rockies

DENVER - This hasn’t been Stephen Strasburg’s most memorable season. He will have made only 22 starts, his lowest total since 2013 (when he was recovering from Tommy John surgery). Unless he tosses six scoreless innings (or nine innings of one-run ball) tonight, he’ll finish with the highest ERA of his career. Strasburg, though, can wrap up a disappointing 2018 season on a legitimate high

Solís’ struggles vs. lefties reach staggering proportions

DENVER - With his team trailing by two runs in the bottom of the sixth and a left-handed batter leading off for the Rockies, Davey Martinez made the move most managers would make to try to keep the game close. He brought in a lefty from his bullpen to face that one batter: David Dahl, who has received only 64 plate appearances against southpaws this

Nats lose to playoff-bound Rockies, but clinch second place

DENVER - The Nationals emerged from the dugout at Coors Field this evening, the temperature already down to 51 degrees on its way to 42 degrees by the time the game ended. A sellout crowd of 48,089 packed into the ballpark for the opener of what could be a momentous weekend here to wrap up the regular season. Alas, the visitors who had to break

Zimmerman not taking chances with back injury (Nats down 4-2)

DENVER - Ryan Zimmerman celebrated his 34th birthday today by getting treatment on his ailing back and then bundling up to watch from the dugout as the Nationals faced the Rockies on a 51-degree late-September evening at Coors Field. Zimmerman was not in the Nats lineup two days after he tweaked his back on a swing in the team’s home finale, an injury that forced

Scherzer prepared to start Sunday if Rockies need to win

DENVER - Max Scherzer doesn’t really have any reason to pitch Sunday - “I’ve made 33 starts, thrown 220 innings,” he said today. “So that’s a full workload.” - but Game 162 could mean everything for the Rockies, who enter the weekend trying to win either their first division title or fourth wild card berth. So Scherzer and the Nationals have made a decision how

Game 160 lineups: Nats at Rockies

DENVER - Hello from Coors Field, where it’s been in the 50s all afternoon and is expected to dip into the 40s tonight, with a sellout crowd expected for a must-win game for the home team seeking its first division title. In short, it’s going to be a playoff-like atmosphere tonight. Maybe not the playoff atmosphere the Nationals wanted to experience, but it nonetheless will

What’s at stake this weekend in Colorado

Mike Rizzo’s primary goal at the outset of each season is for his team to be playing meaningful games in late September. (The ultimate goal, of course, is to then be playing meaningful games in late October, but that can’t happen without meaningful games in late September.) Well, the good news is that the Nationals indeed will be participating in meaningful games during this final

On Robles, McGowin, Roark, Zimmerman and attendance

The focus Wednesday obviously was on Bryce Harper, whose potential farewell to Nationals Park didn’t quite go as hoped, both for performance and weather-related reasons. But there was plenty else going on during the course of the Nats’ 9-3, seven-inning win over the Marlins. Let’s run through some of the other notable developments ... * Victor Robles had the best game of his brief major

Harper left on deck in Nats’ rain-shortened, home finale win

He was up at 5 a.m., dealing with movers set to transport his stuff from his Arlington apartment to his offseason home in Las Vegas. He was at Nationals Park several hours later, already in full uniform at 1 p.m. for a 4:05 p.m. game, prompting wisecracks from teammates. And once he took the field for the Nats’ 2018 home finale, every move Bryce Harper

McGowin dealing, Zimmerman departing early (Nats up 9-3)

Bryce Harper is the center of attention today at Nationals Park, but Kyle McGowin is trying to get everyone to notice him as well. The rookie right-hander, making his first career start, has retired the first nine Marlins batters he has faced, four via strikeout to introduce himself to a crowd that has gathered on a warm Wednesday afternoon for what could be Harper’s final

Martinez still focused on wins, supports coaching staff

For his team’s final home game of the season, and then final road series of the season, Davey Martinez doesn’t envision doing anything in a different manner than he’s done it all year long. In other words, the games themselves will take precedence over individual moments the rookie manager might otherwise try to create for his most popular players. Bryce Harper is, of course, in

Game 159 lineups: Nats vs. Marlins

And so we have arrived at the final home game of the 2018 season. Which, of course, also means it could be the final home game of Bryce Harper’s Nationals career. This isn’t the manner anyone expected or wanted it to happen, on a late Wednesday afternoon against the Marlins, with nothing at stake and rain in the forecast. But this is the reality of

Wieters glad to play a role in Nats pitchers’ success

It has been a frustrating two seasons for Matt Wieters, there’s no denying that. A four-time All-Star in Baltimore, he hasn’t come close to duplicating that kind of performance since coming to the Nationals. And he’ll depart as a free agent this winter, unsure what the market will be for a 32-year-old catcher with diminishing numbers. Which isn’t to say this has been a complete

Max Scherzer joins elite 300-strikeout club in Nats win (updated)

Even in this record-setting era for strikeouts in baseball, the 300 mark remains a rarely achieved gold standard reserved only for the sport’s very best pitchers. Only six major leaguers have reached the big number since 1990, and they need no qualifiers added before their names to be recognized as the best of the best: Randy Johnson, Curt Schilling, Pedro Martinez, Clayton Kershaw and Chris

Harper, Scherzer, Doolittle win Nats’ end-of-year awards

Bryce Harper’s second-half resurgence earned the slugger his first Nationals Player of the Year honor. Harper, who turned his season around after the All-Star break, was named the Nationals Player of the Year this afternoon. He’ll be presented with his award along with Max Scherzer (the club’s Pitcher of the Year) and Sean Doolittle (winner of the annual Good Guy Award) during a ceremony immediately

Game 158 lineups: Nats vs. Marlins

Max Scherzer’s quest for 300 strikeouts continues tonight in what is expected to be his second-to-last start of the season. The Nationals ace is currently sitting at 290, so he’s got a chance to get there tonight with a strong outing against the Marlins. If he does it, Scherzer will become only the sixth pitcher to strike out 300 batters in a season since 1990.

Harper reaches elusive 100-RBI mark in Nats win (updated)

Mock it as an old-school milestone, one that doesn’t accurately reflect a player’s offensive performance. Just know this: Major leaguers still care about RBIs, and Bryce Harper knew well when he took the field tonight he needed one more to reach the century mark for the first time in his career. “It’s an unbelievable milestone,” manager Davey Martinez said before the Nationals’ 7-3 victory over

Roark uncertain to make next start after rejoining family

The Nationals may need to do some more rotation finagling this week, with Tanner Roark’s status again uncertain. Roark, whose wife gave birth to the couple’s third child last week, returned to his home in Atlanta on Sunday. Manager Davey Martinez said the right-hander is still penciled in to pitch Wednesday’s home finale against the Marlins, but the club is making plans in case that

Game 157 lineups: Nats vs. Marlins

If you’ve stepped outside today, or even just looked out a window, you know what the weather has been like and is supposed to continue to be like through the evening. In a word: rain. The conditions, of course, were similar yesterday and the Nationals and Mets still managed to play, thanks to near-constant work on the infield by a grounds crew that has earned

Now Nats’ all-time steals leader, Turner still strives to improve

From the moment he first reached base for the Nationals - the date was Sept. 1, 2015, the site Busch Stadium in St. Louis - Trea Turner was destined to break the club’s all-time stolen base record. Turner stole second base in that game. He returned permanently in the summer of 2016 and stole 33 bases in only 73 games. Last year he stole 46

Fedde labors early again as Nats lose to Mets again (updated)

If these final games of the 2018 season - one that officially became about something other than trying to reach the playoffs on Saturday - are about giving young players some final opportunities to stake their claim for key spots in 2019, Erick Fedde’s start today carried some real significance. Fedde, the 2014 first-round pick whose path has been slowed by arm injuries, has shown

Rain threatening Nats’ full 162-game schedule (Nats down 8-6)

Stop us if you’ve heard this before: The tarp is on the field at Nationals Park, with no end in sight to the rain that already has been falling all morning. Stop us, as well, if you’ve heard this before: It appears they’re going to wait this out and hope they can find a “window” in which the Nationals and Mets can play their season

Game 156 lineups: Nats vs. Mets

Will the Nationals and Mets play their final head-to-head matchup of the season today? And if not, will they ever play it? That’s the pertinent question right now, with the rain coming down all morning and expected to continue all day. Major League Baseball doesn’t like canceling games altogether and leaving teams playing fewer than 162 games - the Marlins and Pirates already are scheduled

Final elimination comes via walk-off win in St. Louis (Nats win 6-0)

There will be no postseason appearance for the Nationals in 2018. Eliminated from the National League East race Friday night, the Nats were eliminated from the NL wild card race this afternoon when Tyler O’Neill hit a walk-off homer off Mark Melancon in St. Louis to give the Cardinals a 5-4 10-inning victory over the Giants. That result leaves the Nationals trailing the Cardinals by

Voth will get today’s start after Roark is pushed back

The Nationals are going to send Austin Voth, not Tanner Roark, to the mound Saturday afternoon. Though Roark had previously been named their starter for the third game of a four-game weekend series with the Mets, the Nationals decided to push the veteran right-hander back and give him more time to recuperate following the birth of his third child. Roark’s wife, Amanda, gave birth earlier

Nationals eliminated from NL East race (updated)

Even the most pessimistic of observers out there, those who insisted all along the Nationals would not win the National League East this season, could not have reasonably believed this team would be facing elimination on Sept. 21, with more than a week left on the regular-season schedule. If the Nats were going to fall short in their quest to win a third straight division

With Eaton’s knee stiff, Robles getting extended look (Nats down 4-1)

As much as he’s wanted to get a look at Victor Robles down the stretch of the season, Davey Martinez also wanted to give Adam Eaton opportunities to keep playing until the finish line, making sure his surgically repaired left knee and ankle could hold up through the late September grind. Eaton, though, is now dealing with stiffness in that knee, so that has opened

Game 154 lineups: Nats vs. Mets (updated)

The Nationals could be eliminated from the National League East race tonight. That’s not a scenario anyone anticipated back in February (or April or June or maybe even July or August, for that matter) but it’s the reality of the situation. The Nats are eight games back of the Braves in the division with nine to play. That means the elimination number is two, which

Soft outfield turf surprises players from both clubs

The outfield grass at Nationals Park hasn’t always looked pristine this summer, most notably after a couple of concerts that left much of center field a splotchy brown. But the field itself had held up well through it all, never once appearing to negatively impact play despite heat, rain, All-Star festivities and more. But on Thursday night, two players in the Nationals-Mets game got their

Nats rally to get Scherzer off hook, but lose in 12th (updated)

Max Scherzer won’t win 20 games this season. He very well could strike out 300 batters. Whether that’s enough to get him a fourth Cy Young Award over first-time hopeful Jacob deGrom won’t be known until mid-November. Scherzer was mostly dominant tonight against the Mets, striking out 13 batters in seven innings to raise his season total to 290. But back-to-back homers surrendered in the

No days off have been no problem for Turner

The Nationals tonight play their 153rd game of the season. Trea Turner tonight plays in his 153rd game of the season. “I appreciate the fact he goes out there and plays every day,” manager Davey Martinez said. “It’s hard to do these days. I talk to him and ask if he needs a day off, and he’s good to go. He loves to play.” Turner

Game 153 lineups: Nats vs. Mets

And so we have come to the final homestand of the 2018 season. The Nationals host the Mets for four games, then the Marlins for three before hitting the road for an admittedly odd final series at Colorado next weekend. There will be time for some sentimentality once we reach the later stages of the homestand, but for now it’s all business. Especially for the

Sorting through the Nationals’ new Triple-A affiliation

By now, you’ve probably heard about the Nationals’ new Triple-A affiliate: the Fresno Grizzlies. And yes, that’s Fresno, Calif., not Fresno, Ohio. Fresno was not the Nats’ first choice for a new Triple-A affiliate, mostly because of its inconvenient location. It’s not only the 2,800 miles that separate it from Washington, but the fact the closest nonstop flight you can get from Fresno to Washington

How the Nats stacked up in the end with the Braves, Phillies

There are only 12 games remaining on the Nationals’ 2018 schedule, and all of those games will come against the Marlins, Mets and Rockies. Which means there are no more opportunities to gain ground on the two clubs that have sat above them in the National League East all summer via head-to-head wins. No, the Nats have seen the last of the Braves and Phillies

Harper, Rendon lead Nats to series win in Atlanta (updated)

ATLANTA - They took two of four from the Cubs in a stretch that required a doubleheader and a special trip back to D.C. for a makeup game. They took three of three from the Phillies in a series that required a doubleheader when blowtorches couldn’t dry out a soaked infield for the opener. And now the Nationals have taken two of three from the

Eaton won’t slow down as season winds down (Nats up 5-2)

ATLANTA - Given what he’s been through in the last 18 months - a torn ACL and sprained ankle, rehab from those injuries, the discovery of further injury to his ankle and rehab from another surgery - you might think Adam Eaton would be taking it easy here as the Nationals’ season winds down. You would, of course, be wrong. Eaton is playing more regularly

Game 150 lineups: Nats at Braves

ATLANTA - The week began with a game in Philadelphia that had to be postponed not because it was raining but because it had rained and the infield couldn’t be brought back to life in time. It continued with a makeup game in D.C. that the Cubs didn’t want to play out of fear of Hurricane Florence (which at that point was centered more than

Soto shows off legs with three steals in win

ATLANTA - Juan Soto has made a name for himself throughout the baseball world this season. For what he has done with his bat. Not his legs. Until Saturday, when Soto showed off a part of his game few previously knew existed: his ability to run. The Nationals’ rookie phenom stole three bases in a 7-1 victory over the Braves, including third base on the

Rodriguez great in relief again as Nats walk to 7-1 win (updated)

ATLANTA - Jeremy Hellickson wanted to get an opportunity to close out his season on a high note. That won’t happen now after the right-hander re-injured his right wrist, not by pitching but by hitting in the top of the fourth this afternoon at SunTrust Park. Disappointed as they were to see Hellickson go down again, though, the Nationals couldn’t help but be encouraged by

Hellickson reinjures wrist while batting (Nats lead 5-1)

ATLANTA - Jeremy Hellickson’s return from a sprained right wrist lasted only three innings after the Nationals pitcher appeared to reinjure the wrist while batting. Hellickson, making his return one month after he hurt himself bracing for a fall while covering the plate following a wild pitch, looked perfectly healthy on the mound during his three innings against the Braves. He allowed one unearned run

Soto and Acuña enjoying rookie battle

ATLANTA - Not that he has needed any motivation to get himself excited for every game he’s played this season, but Juan Soto couldn’t help but notice the fellow phenom left fielder across the field from him Friday night and feel a little extra motivation. “Yes,” the Nationals 19-year-old said when asked about facing Braves 20-year-old Ronald Acuña Jr. “It feels pretty good. That’s how

Game 149 lineups: Nats at Braves

ATLANTA - It’s going to be another scorcher here today. We saw what the heat and humidity did to Max Scherzer’s cap and jersey last night. Now imagine what it’s going to do to Jeremy Hellickson’s gear today in a 1:05 p.m. with sun covering the entire field. Hopefully clubhouse manager Mike Wallace has plenty of extra caps and jerseys at the ready. Hellickson makes

Harper upset with umpire but avoids first ejection of season

ATLANTA - Bryce Harper has made a concerted effort not to be ejected from a game this season, something that has happened at least once in each of his previous six big league seasons. And with only two weeks to go, he’s been successful, though Laz Diaz certainly tested the slugger’s newfound calm demeanor Friday night. Harper and Diaz jawed back and forth multiple times

Scherzer labors through short start in loss to Braves (updated)

ATLANTA - It was muggy at SunTrust Park tonight, no question about that. Muggy enough to cause Max Scherzer to sweat straight through his jersey and cap in only two innings? Yes. Still, the way he labored and looked as exhausted as he’s ever going to look on a baseball diamond, it seemed fair to wonder if Scherzer was dealing with something else, if he

Hellickson to start Saturday, Roark on Sunday (Nats down 7-5)

ATLANTA - Jeremy Hellickson said he only thinks of himself as a starter, not a reliever. And the Nationals will let the veteran right-hander do what he’s always done - for at least the time being. Hellickson will start Saturday afternoon’s game against the Braves, his first game appearance since he sprained his right wrist exactly one month earlier. Manager Davey Martinez had options for

Game 148 lineups: Nats at Braves

ATLANTA - Throughout the summer, the Nationals and Braves have known they’d be playing each other just once in September: this weekend at SunTrust Park. The way things were going, it had the potential to be a critical series in the National League East race. Emphasis on “had,” not “has.” Yes, the Nats still technically are alive, and perhaps a weekend sweep would put some

Velocity still down, but Strasburg pitching better

PHILADELPHIA - Some might see the radar gun, with a fastball velocity in the 92-94 mph range, and wonder what’s wrong with Stephen Strasburg. Davey Martinez sees it as an opportunity for the veteran right-hander to show off his skills that don’t require velocity. “He’s pitching now,” Martinez said after Strasburg tossed seven innings of one-run ball to beat the Phillies on Wednesday. “He’s mixing

Nats’ stars rise to sweep Phillies, win fifth straight (updated)

PHILADELPHIA - The Nationals know the math. They’ve reached a point in the season where it would take a miracle - or, at least, something historic - to catch the Braves and win the National League East title. But perhaps those miniscule odds are actually helping contribute to this sudden surge by one of the majors’ most disappointing teams in 2018. When they were still

Hellickson wants to start, but Nats may not have room (up 5-1)

PHILADELPHIA - Jeremy Hellickson is off the disabled list and back on the Nationals pitching staff. How the veteran right-hander fits into that pitching staff over the season’s final 2 1/2 weeks remains undecided. Hellickson, who hasn’t pitched since Aug. 15 due to a sprained right wrist, was activated today and is willing to be available out of the bullpen for tonight’s series finale against

Game 146 lineups: Nats at Phillies

PHILADELPHIA - Well, we’ve reached the final day and game of this wacky series. And for now, the Nationals and Phillies are on schedule and set to wrap things up tonight as planned (though there is a slight chance of rain this evening). The forecast also looks decent for Thursday’s makeup game against the Cubs in D.C., and for probably Friday and Saturday’s games in

Holland puts in overtime pitching both ends of twinbill

PHILADELPHIA - Greg Holland had done it before, pitched both ends of a doubleheader. But as he pointed out, “I was younger when I did it.” Yes, it had been five years since Holland last pitched twice on the same day. He actually did it twice for the Royals in 2013, recording two saves a piece on April 21 against the Red Sox and Aug.

Soto leads furious Nats comeback to win in extras (updated)

PHILADELPHIA - Through a set of circumstances none of them would ever want to endure again, the Nationals found themselves taking the field in the ninth inning tonight having not lost a baseball game since Thursday. Their winning streak was only three games, but add three postponements to the mix and you’ve got a team that hadn’t known what a loss felt like in a

Soto keeps climbing the teenage ladder (6-6 in 10th)

PHILADELPHIA - Juan Soto keeps climbing up the Major League Baseball teenage ladder. Soto launched a two-run homer off Jake Arrieta in the top of the fourth tonight, his 17th home run of the season, which leaves him in some exclusive company. The Nationals rookie outfielder, who won’t turn 20 until October 25, is now fourth all-time in major league homers by a teenager, having

Game 145 lineups: Nats at Phillies

PHILADELPHIA - We’re back for the nightcap of today’s doubleheader. The field has held up, and most importantly the rain has held off all day. Now the Nationals look to sweep their second doubleheader in four days and move to within 1 1/2 games of the second-place Phillies, who are in serious trouble right now. The challenge for the Nats will be tougher tonight, with

Fedde, Kieboom lead Nats to 3-1 win in opener (updated)

PHILADELPHIA - The infield was playable. The rain held off. Gabe Kapler used 23 of his 39 available players. Erick Fedde put forth the best start of his young career. Spencer Kieboom lost a tooth and then hit his first career home run. And there’s still another game to be played tonight at Citizens Bank Park. Who knows what the nightcap of this doubleheader has

Field ready for play today, weather permitting (Nats up 3-0)

PHILADELPHIA - The Nationals are preparing to play two games today at Citizens Bank Park. They have no way of knowing if they’ll actually be able to play two games, but they have no choice but to prepare and hope the hours of work the Phillies grounds crew put in to dry out and smooth a rain-soaked infield did the trick. “It’s better,” manager Davey

Game 144 lineups (take two): Nats at Phillies

PHILADELPHIA - Hello again from Citizens Bank Park, where the blowtorches were back out on the infield at noon today, only three hours before scheduled first pitch of this doubleheader. They’ve since been moved off to the side, but there’s still a lot of tilling/rolling/drying work being done on the infield, so I’m not sure you can say with any confidence yet that today’s action

What happens if the Nats can’t play seven games this week?

PHILADELPHIA - The Nationals mostly were able to laugh off Monday night’s bizarre postponement at Citizens Bank Park due to an infield that was unplayable, the first Major League Baseball game that couldn’t be played because of “wet grounds” since Sept. 21, 1987 at Milwaukee’s County Stadium. But they won’t be laughing at the end of this week if they aren’t able to play the

“Wet grounds” postponement adds to Nats’ bizarre week

PHILADELPHIA - In this, the summer of rain delays and rainouts and agonizing losses and surprise comebacks, the Nationals tonight experienced something that would have sounded impossible if not for everything else they’ve experienced in recent months: a game postponed not because of rain that fell today but several days ago, making the infield unplayable. Yes, tonight’s series opener against the Phillies had to be

Nats-Phillies opener postponed by unplayable infield

PHILADELPHIA - After experiencing two postponements and a doubleheader that wasn’t completed until 1:42 a.m. this weekend in Washington, the Nationals are now looking at a likely delay (and potential postponement) in Philadelphia due to an unplayable infield that was not covered while the Phillies were out of town in recent days. Yes, the status of tonight’s series opener at Citizens Bank Park is up

Game 144 lineups: Nats at Phillies

PHILADELPHIA - Hello from Citizens Bank Park, where it is currently ... raining. Ah, there’s a certain sense of comfort in traveling away from home but still feeling like you’re home. The forecast actually doesn’t look terrible for tonight: a 30 percent chance of showers. By Nationals standards of late, that’s downright beautiful! The Nationals arrive here weary from a ridiculously long weekend against the

Smooth ride for Doolittle in return from DL

He entered via the passenger’s seat of the bullpen cart, his feet propped up on the dashboard, his glove covering his mouth to conceal the laughter underneath it all. It was the top of the eighth inning, it was 11:57 p.m., and Sean Doolittle was back pitching for the Nationals after two months on the disabled list. And, as he promised all along, he rode

Long, rainy day and night ends with doubleheader sweep

It began with a rain delay. It ended after another rain delay. In between, the Nationals played two baseball games with the Cubs, saw Max Scherzer throw a complete game, inducted Jayson Werth into their Ring of Honor, saw Bryce Harper launch a go-ahead home run off the bullpen cart, saw Sean Doolittle become the first pitcher ever to enter Nationals Park via said bullpen

Werth “honored” to be added to Nats’ Ring of Honor

There will be those who look at Jayson Werth’s name on the façade of the upper deck down the first base line at Nationals Park, unveiled tonight and there to stay as long as this stadium lives, and question whether the outfielder was worthy of such an honor. Those people probably have always scoffed at the $126 million contract the Nationals gave Werth way

Game 143 lineups: Nats vs. Cubs

Hope you didn’t stray too far from your TV, cause we’re already back for the nightcap of today’s doubleheader. Yes, it’s starting a little later than planned thanks to the 2-hour, 10-minute rain delay before the opener. And yes, there’s a chance for more rain later tonight before this one is completed. But hey, at this point why complain anymore? Nothing any of us can

Scherzer goes the distance in 10-3 rout over Cubs (updated)

This was going to be a long, aggravating day and night at the ballpark no matter what took place on the field. Such is life when you’re attempting to play a doubleheader after failing to even complete 1 1/2 innings the previous night due to rain, with more rain certain to fall in different waves during the course of this day and night. But for

Both sides left frustrated by Friday’s rainout

They may have had different reasons for it, but the Nationals and Cubs were united in their displeasure with the end result of Friday night’s scheduled game. For those who missed it (or fell asleep along the way), a recap: The start of the game was delayed 1 hour, 21 minutes due to rain, then started only to be halted after 23 minutes due to

Game 142 lineups (take two): Nats vs. Cubs (start delayed)

After a long and frustrating Friday night at the ballpark that featured fewer than two innings of baseball, the Nationals and Cubs are going to spend a long Saturday afternoon and night at the ballpark, hopefully playing 18 innings of baseball. Everything that happened last night is wiped out, officially speaking. They’ll start from scratch at 3:05 p.m. today, with Max Scherzer and Jaime Garcia

Game postponed after two delays, true doubleheader Saturday

They waited 1 hour, 21 minutes for the first storm to clear out and then started the game. They played for 23 minutes, completing the first inning and the first two outs of the second inning, before the second wave of rain became too intense and forced both teams to leave the field. And then after another 2 hours, 54 minutes spent watching the heavens

Finally healthy after two months, Doolittle off DL (another delay)

What would Sean Doolittle have thought, the Nationals closer was asked today, if told when he first noticed what felt like a minor left toe injury on July 7 that he wouldn’t return for two months? “I would’ve said you were crazy,” the left-hander said. “I was feeling really good, and I was pitching better than I ever have in my career. If you had

Game 142 lineups: Nats vs. Cubs

It’s been 425 days since Joe Ross last pitched in a major league game. Something didn’t look right with the right-hander on July 9, 2017 when he lasted only 3 1/3 innings against the Braves and saw his velocity drop. Turns out he had a torn ligament in his elbow that required Tommy John surgery, and we all know how long it takes to return

Morning notes: Robles, Holland and really long games

With left-handers starting for the Cubs the rest of the weekend, Victor Robles is most likely going to get some significant playing time and get his first major league start of the season. We got a taste of the dynamic rookie late during Thursday night’s game, though, when he took over in center field as part of a double switch and found himself right in

Nats lose another marathon to Cubs, 6-4 in 10 (updated)

They battled, just like they always do. They also lost a close game late to the Cubs, which they also have done a few times in the last month. The Nationals’ 6-4, 10-inning loss to Chicago tonight felt oh so familiar to anyone who has watched these teams play this summer. Just as they did twice during an agonizing weekend at Wrigley Field in August,

Murphy ready for emotional return to Nationals Park

Daniel Murphy flew from Milwaukee to Washington late Wednesday night, rode home and slept in his own bed for the first time in 2 1/2 weeks. There was comfort in that routine, to be sure. Then Murphy rode today to Nationals Park and instead of entering the home clubhouse kept walking around the concourse to the visitors’ side behind third base, where his No. 3

Game 141 lineups: Nats vs. Cubs

They just took the official 2018 team photo here at Nationals Park, with players, coaches and club executives all standing out in direct sunlight in the middle of the diamond on a brutally hot day to smile for a few seconds and capture a shot of the team in its entirety. That is, the team in its entirety as it currently exists on September 6.

Nationals rally again, but lose again to Cardinals (updated)

It is becoming something of a running joke, that no matter how bad they play, no matter the deficit they face, the Nationals always seem to find a way to bring the tying run to the plate late in ballgames. Even though that doesn’t always result in victory, it has legitimately become a defining quality of a team that certainly has been a major disappointment

Rizzo expresses frustration with season, support for Martinez

That the question was asked at all is evidence of the disappointment that has been the Nationals’ 2018 season. But given the events of the last five months, not to mention the organization’s history of changing managers, Mike Rizzo couldn’t have been surprised today when he was asked during a wide-ranging scrum on the field at Nationals Park whether Davey Martinez will return in 2019.

Game 140 lineups: Nats vs. Cardinals

Can the Nationals play well enough tonight to take a three-game series from the Cardinals? Can Tanner Roark continue his second-half surge? Can the lineup continue to produce, right down to the bottom of the ninth? Shoot, can they simply play a nine-inning game in fewer than 3 1/2 hours? We’ll find all of that out when the Nats wrap up their series with St.

Lacking in trusted options, Nats ‘pen taking a pounding

The Nationals had 12 pitchers sitting in their bullpen Tuesday night, but that doesn’t mean Davey Martinez had an abundance of appealing options when he needed to call down there for an arm. Of those 12 relievers, only two were on the club’s opening day roster: Matt Grace and Sammy Solís. Only four of them have pitched in 30 or more games for the Nats

Mistakes aplenty in Nats’ 11-8 loss to Cards (updated)

In this summer of extremes for the Nationals, tonight’s 11-8 loss to the Cardinals somehow felt appropriate. The Nats pitching staff posted zeros in six different innings during this game, often in impressive fashion. The lineup posted a four-spot in the bottom of the fifth with an impressive rally, then scored three times in the bottom of the ninth and brought the tying run to

Robles returns to D.C. and finally gets to play with Soto

When Victor Robles arrived in Washington one year ago, he was touted as the Nationals’ future star outfielder, the man who would perhaps make Bryce Harper’s potential departure less difficult to swallow. When Robles arrived in Washington today, he found himself with a locker right next to Juan Soto, who over the last 3 1/2 months has taken over the title of Harper’s potential replacement

Game 139 lineups: Nats vs. Cardinals

It’s a disgustingly hot and muggy day here in Miami - wait, this is Washington? Could’ve fooled me. Step outside, close your eyes and you won’t be able to tell the difference. Promise. So much for a September cool down. Anyway, the Nationals and Cardinals return to action tonight after Monday’s 10-inning thriller, the Nats looking to win two straight and get over the .500

Nats add six to roster, including Robles, Ross, McGowin

The Nationals added six players to their September roster today, promoting outfielder Victor Robles, infielder Adrian Sanchez, and right-handers Austin Voth and Kyle McGowin from Triple-A Syracuse, while also activating Erick Fedde and Joe Ross off the 60-day disabled list. With the minor league regular season wrapping up Monday, the Nationals had no more reason to wait to expand their roster. They now have 32

Nats re-up with Single-A affiliates, leaving only Triple-A left

Though the Nationals are still seeking a new Triple-A affiliate for the 2019 season, they already know their Double-A and both Single-A affiliates are going to stay exactly as they have more than a decade. The Nats announced new two-year extensions with both high-Single-A Potomac and low-Single-A Hagerstown on Monday, continuing their longstanding affiliations with both clubs through 2020. Neither announcement was a surprise; the

Harper delivers late to propel Nats to 10-inning win (updated)

Whether the remaining month in the Nationals’ 2018 season carries significance from the team’s standpoint or not, there are individual performances aplenty to care about. Such is life when your roster includes a Cy Young Award candidate, a Rookie of the Year candidate and perhaps the final weeks of Bryce Harper’s tenure in Washington. So while today’s 4-3, 10-inning victory over the Cardinals probably won’t

Robles, Ross will be among Tuesday’s call-ups (3-3 after nine)

The Nationals’ already-crowded outfield is going to get more crowded Tuesday when Victor Robles is promoted from Triple-A Syracuse to make his first big league appearance of the season. And with Joe Ross also making his return from Tommy John surgery, the Nats will have some pitching decisions to make. Though the club hasn’t formally announced its full complement of September call-ups, manager Davey Martinez

Nats prospect Romero has Tommy John surgery

The Nationals’ long-term pitching plans took another hit last week when prospect Seth Romero had Tommy John surgery to repair a torn ligament in his elbow. Romero, the Nationals’ first-round pick in the 2017 draft and fifth-rated prospect entering the season according to Baseball America, is expected to miss the entire 2019 season while recovering from surgery. The procedure was performed Thursday in Los Angeles

Game 138 lineups: Nats vs. Cardinals

Homecoming Week at Nationals Park continues. First, it was Gio Gonzalez and the Brewers. Coming up Thursday it’ll be Daniel Murphy, Brandon Kintzler and the Cubs. But today it’s Matt Adams and the Cardinals in town. Adams is batting third and starting at first base this afternoon, but it’s been a slow start for Big City in his return to St. Louis. He’s 3-for-21 with

Williams’ scoreless debut a bright spot in loss

The lasting image of Sunday’s game for most will be of the two towering home runs surrendered by Jefry Rodriguez and Tim Collins during a seven-run fifth inning that turned the Nationals’ series finale against the Brewers upside-down. For Austen Williams, the lasting image will be of the sixth and seventh innings. Yes, the game already flipped to the opponent’s favor, with Milwaukee holding a

Disastrous fifth dooms Nats during 9-4 loss to Brewers (updated)

There are any number of reasons, many of them having already been outlined over the last month, for the Nationals’ hugely disappointing 2018 season. But if anyone was having trouble remembering, two of them were on full display today for all to see during a calamitous top of the fifth that proved the decisive frame of a 9-4 loss to the Brewers. The Nationals’ pitching

Fedde to start Tuesday, Ross coming soon (Nats down 9-4)

The Nationals have several options to fill Gio Gonzalez’s open rotation slot over the season’s final month, and they may take a look at all of them over the course of September. First up, though, will be Erick Fedde. Fedde, who has been out since July 4 with shoulder inflammation, will start Tuesday against the Cardinals, the first time the Nationals need a replacement for

After another sim game, Doolittle on track to return this week

It may come too late to help the Nationals make a last-ditch postseason push, but it does appear Sean Doolittle will be closing games for them for the bulk of the September schedule. Doolittle faced live hitters again this morning in a simulated game at Nationals Park, and barring any complications he’s likely to be activated off the disabled list within the next few days.

Game 137 lineups: Nats vs. Brewers

The Nationals and Brewers didn’t get much sleep last night, so these will be some weary teams that take the field this afternoon for the series finale. The good news: Though it’s going to be hot and humid, the chance of rain appears to be minimal, some welcome relief after what happened Friday and Saturday nights. The Nats are going for a series victory, one

Given another shot, Kieboom makes most of opportunity

Painted into a corner in May when their lack of catching depth was exposed, the Nationals gave Spencer Kieboom a shot. Suffice it to say that the 27-year-old rookie has seized the opportunity. KIeboom, whose major league experience was limited to a single at-bat (he walked) on the final day of the 2016 season, was pressed into service when starting catcher Matt Wieters was injured

Soto delivers in comeback, Strasburg improves

For weeks, as their season corkscrewed out of control, manager Davey Martinez has maintained that the Nationals have not quit. Most nights, it seemed like he was damning them with faint praise. Some wondered if he had gotten stuck on that cliché because he repeated it so frequently. On Saturday night - well, early Sunday morning, if you want to be precise - the Nats

Strasburg strong in early going (Nats win 5-4)

Stephen Strasburg has looked both dominant and like he was battling himself tonight. But through four innings, he’s yet to allow a run. A seven-pitch first inning was followed by Strasburg striking out the side in the second in a 1-2-3 inning. He allowed a Jonathan Schoop single to lead off the third, but Manny Piña lined into a double play and Chase Anderson grounded

Hellickson progresses to throwing curveballs (plus other notes)

Right-hander Jeremy Hellickson threw another bullpen session Saturday afternoon, this time integrating his curveball for the first time since going on the disabled list with a right wrist sprain. “Felt good,” he said. “Threw about 45, 60 (pitches). I threw some curveballs. It felt fine.” Hellickson said after a 30-pitch bullpen Wednesday in Philadelphia that he has shied away from throwing curveballs off the mound

Game 136 lineups: Nats vs. Brewers

The Nationals will send Stephen Strasburg to the hill this evening trying to even up their series with the Brewers and hoping the right-hander can continue to progress after being activated off the disabled list last month. Since returning a month on the DL with a cervical nerve impingement, Strasburg has twice faced the Phillies, working four innings in an 8-7 home win on Aug.

Doolittle encouraged after pitching in simulated game

Having now traded or lost to season-ending injury three different closers, the Nationals could desperately use Sean Doolittle pitching the ninth inning for them again. At long last, it appears as though the All-Star closer is close to making his return from the disabled list. Doolittle threw a 15-pitch simulated game to teammates Michael A. Taylor and Andrew Stevenson Friday afternoon and emerged feeling encouraged

Fighting tears, Gonzalez recalls “emotional” final day with Nats

Gio Gonzalez walked into the press conference room at Nationals Park from the home side, strolling through the same door Nats managers past and present emerge from every day. On his head, though, was a navy cap with a gold letter “M” above a sprig of barley. Covering his torso was a hoodie with the script “Brewers” across the front. It was nearly 11 p.m.,

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